Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Cottage by the Sea

Well, we have had a fantastic holiday weekend.  We had been invited to take our alpacas to River Cottage Spring Fair and although they are close to us it was still a lot of work but worth every minute of it.  If you have ever visited River Cottage yourself then you will know that they have the friendliest and most efficient staff and associates.  We had a ball, it was dry and the sun shone for both days although we were wearing alpaca knitwear to keep us warm. 


Diamond, Petronella and Desdemona were really well behaved and people were amazed at how small they were when they put there hands into the fleeces.  None of these little ones have a full fleece yet as Diamond is 11 months and Petronella and Desemona are only 8 months.



Petronella was brilliant with children and was quite happy to have all the attention.


Unfortunately we didn't take any photographs of our stall on the first day so the stock was heavily depleted by the time we remembered to get the camera out.  Customers were really interested in hearing about alpaca fibre and were asking so many questions which we were happy to answer.  I did fall in love though.  A man thought that somebody as creative as me shouldn't really be spending time cooking and cleaning.  See, I was besotted and smiled for the rest of the day.


We also managed to take a couple of chicken houses and kennel with a few chickens.  These also drew the children over even though there were so many other things for them to see and do.



The curly haired god of the good life also made an unscheduled appearance to sign copies of his books.


This is another face that people may recognize as John Wright who gave talks over the two days on foraging and making your own beer.  I saw him leaning over the bridge collecting plants for his talk and wanted to go in and listen as I love seeing him on TV but we were far too busy and Si just had to pop in with the camera to take this shot.  He seems a lovely friendly man, he walked around for the two days constantly smiling and having his photograph taken with admirers, happy to chat and answer questions.  He must have been exhausted at the end of it.


Above is Tim Maddams, one of the River Cottage chefs.  This is another man who never seemed to stop all weekend, giving talks and demonstrations on cooking pigeon, from fully feathered to plate.  The other subject he covered was wild rabbity feasts. The aromas coming out of the kitchen theatre were amazing and made our mouths water as we were right outside. 


People were welcome to walk around the gardens of River Cottage and we picked up quite a few ideas ourselves.  Garden staff were available to answer any questions that people had, this is only a small section.


This was a stall I was absolutely fascinated with, it was set up by Andrea Cunningham of Jacdor just click on the link to go to her website.  She promotes wool from the Jurassic Coast and had beautiful cushions and rugs that she had woven herself, she even gave weaving demonstrations to children on the loom you can see. This is a new business and you can see what a lot of thought and work has gone into it.  Her produce is so professional, presented well and of excellent quality.


 
A lovely friendly couple, James and Maggie,  did a roaring trade in porridge, mueslis, bread mixes and grains that they grow on their farm. They were milling during the day and were selling breakfast to traders hours before the gates opened to visitors as people knew from previous years how good their food was.


 There was also a variety of live music playing all day outside the soup kitchen, Dodo Bones played on both days and had a drumkit made of pans they had people humming along as they walked past.

We had such a great time that it didn't feel like work at all.  Thank you to everybody at River Cottage for all the hard work that must have gone into making this such a great event.